Author Topic: Wind turbine destruction  (Read 37050 times)

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Offline ConKbot

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #75 on: January 05, 2015, 05:45:12 pm »


Can you give an example of a contraption with negative energy output/input ratio?

I believe this is talking energy to produce and refine said item.

I.e. coal includes energy expended to mine it, oil to drill it (hence the ratio dropping as oil gets harder to drill)


But one of those camp-stove cooking pots with a TEG on the bottom would have a ratio below one (not negative! )  if youre considering power only.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/david-toledo/the-powerpot

 
5W out, for ~30 minutes to an hour on a butane canister, and I bet it takes a lot more than 2.5-5Wh of energy expended to get that butane into that canister.

However the short term benefits can outweigh long term sustainability in certain cases.
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #76 on: January 05, 2015, 07:28:35 pm »
Not entirely convinced by "EROEI" statistics myself. Yes, you might be able to get more energy out of, e.g. the oil used to make the plastics in the wire insulation in a theoretical sense, it contains "X" joules per kg. But extracting that energy out releases CO2 and energy extraction is not 100% efficient.

As I see it, nuclear has more benefits than disadvantages:
- Clean, no lifetime CO2
- Provides continuous, high power output
- Low cost per kWh (more expensive than coal, but cheaper than other sources)

The primary disadvantage is of course radioactive waste. But this may not be so much of a disadvantage with the advent of future nuclear reactors which can work off the discarded fissile material from Gen II/III reactors. And the talk about a catastrophic event, such as an asteroid hitting Earth and causing damage to nuclear power plants. This seems far fetched but to be honest I'd be more worried about the other damage. The nuclear plants would be of low concern to me. Obviously power plants should be built in low-Tsunami and low earthquake risk areas, as well.

And as far as alternatives go, what do we have? Coal? Natural gas? Neither are particularly attractive and both produce substantial CO2 per kWh. Hydro is great, and preferred, but there are few areas hydro is really suitable in.

Environmentalists harp on about a solar and wind future, but how on earth will that work? We don't have the grid storage to deal without wind. And the low winter insolation will increase electricity prices massively during winter. Even solar output isn't very dependable on a day-by-day basis, just look at RTE France's data:  http://www.rte-france.com/en/eco2mix/eco2mix-mix-energetique-en

Solar and wind have a part in the grid, selling in to it to reduce nuclear demand and overall electricity prices, but I don't see the idea of intermittent renewables working well as sole suppliers for a grid.  Even the best grid storage can't cope with 2 months of low wind, or multiple days of cloud cover.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 07:32:42 pm by tom66 »
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #77 on: January 05, 2015, 10:09:57 pm »
OK, regarding wind power, here's the output over the course of one month from RTE.


How do you account for the period of about 3 days, where generation was 1/10th the output the next week.

As for the two months, here's the UK "various sources" graph:


The period mid May to end Jun (maybe ~1.5 months) showed considerably lower wind generation.

Ok, maybe these are arguments that only apply in certain cases. But, it is important that a power generation system be available as often as possible. Even something like 99.99% availability which is similar to what we currently get (52 minutes outage per year) yet wind power can't achieve that. I don't know enough about wind distribution across Earth, how much does it vary? Is the wind always blowing in one area? If so, maybe it could work. I don't know for sure, I'll have to read any relevant research.

One plan I've heard of was quite interesting, the idea being to cover a significant portion of the Sahara desert in solar power. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertec#mediaviewer/File:Fullneed.jpg

Sounds interesting but would require a massive investment. If anything though, it sounds like the best non-nuclear solution I've heard of so far.
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #78 on: January 05, 2015, 11:12:38 pm »
It would be interesting to compare wind power output per country and see how it averages out. I'm not entirely convinced that it will work myself, but I can change my mind if the data says otherwise. Do  you know of any good research on this?

This was the best I could find with some googling. It's old data, December 2000, but shows what I feared. Wind is generally similar across large areas - comparing Netherlands to France/Belgium and other countries.



What can be seen is peaks and troughs occur in the same places. What you are suggesting is that on average, wind will almost always be blowing stronger somewhere to make up for low winds elsewhere.  I'm not entirely convinced it is looking at this.

So, I am still very much in favour of having wind power and solar power, where appropriate, contribute to the grid. But they need to be supplemented by suitable base load. For me that means nuclear. Of course if/when fusion gets off the ground I would drop fission in a heartbeat. But for now, it's still a research project.

And, distributed grids are great but a country needs as much energy independence as possible, or it gives bigger countries too much control. Just look at Ukraine and Russia gas/coal situation.

Some additional info from E.ON regarding wind power:
http://www.aweo.org/windEon2004.html

Interesting: wind power shed 10MW per 10 minutes (losing 3.6GW  in just 6 hours) - must be fun to build a grid to handle such rapid changes in demand created by supply shortfall.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 11:15:37 pm by tom66 »
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #79 on: January 05, 2015, 11:16:32 pm »
This post from physicist Tom Murphy's excellent blog gives some good fact based insight into the potential for solar and wind.

Wind and Solar can and should be significantly expanded to help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. 

They won't be able to completely replace fossil fuels - nothing can. And that is a good thing since infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible...
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 11:19:03 pm by mtdoc »
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #80 on: January 05, 2015, 11:19:56 pm »
I like the idea of space based solar power but am concerned by a 100MW beam of microwave radiation becoming misaligned.  That would make for some quick-cooked cattle. If the beam is spread over 50m^2 area, that's 2MW/m^2 which is about 2,000x more powerful than sunlight. Like ants under a magnifying glass, they wouldn't stand a chance. They'd be vaporised immediately. Forget about beef steak...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space-based_solar_power
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #81 on: January 06, 2015, 02:05:31 am »
Which explains why solar PV is actually a massive win for EROEI. So I'm not sure what your point is here... Your own links dispute what you are saying, and in fact say the exact opposite. Did you think no-one would read them?

Those were just a few random articles thrown in to illustrate other points. The EROEI of photovoltaics has a wide range of values from various sources, because it's hard to calculate, factors vary a lot depending on production methods, there's a lot of subsidies that are hard to compensate for, the technology advances, and the whole industry of mass production is quite new. Also subject to boom-crash cycles as subsidies are granted then removed.
That '15 years to return the energy used in manufacture' came from somewhere else, and I can't remember where. Of course that number can (hopefully) improve with the technology. It's just something to bear in mind, when claiming solar photovoltaics are a wonder cure for energy shortages. You *must* work out the 'energy repayment' and operating lifespan times, before making such claims.

Consider that solar panels are made of silicon, glass, aluminum, and silicone rubber. All have high energy costs of manufacture. Silicon and the finished cells in particular. How much energy did the entire silicon refining and wafer foundry cost to build and operate, compared to how much electricity the cells made there will produce over their lifetime? If building and running that factory depended on cheap electricity from a coal-fired plant, long ago amortized, then that is a form of hidden subsidy.
Ditto if the panels are made overseas in a country with near-slave labor and a high ratio exchange rate that hides the true energy cost of manufacture. Likewise with solar panel plants constructed using politically motivated government grants (which later go broke - google Solyndra.)

Don't misunderstand me - I think it's great that solar panels can currently be bought so cheaply in dollar cost. Unfortunately my home isn't suitable for solar power (too much shade, wrong roof face directions) otherwise I'd have taken the biggest solar installation I could, while the subsidies were good.)
But in a wider context, they are not currently able to replace a significant amount of fossil fuel energy supply. As for vast solar arrays in deserts - ha ha. The secret word is 'sandstorm'.  Also 'shifting dunes' for the booby prize.

None of the 'renewables' are viable replacements for fossil fuel, though hydroelectric and geothermal make invaluable contributions where the geography suits.

Large scale wind power though, can be seriously misapplied. Both problems with reliability and maintenance, and very severe negative impacts on those living nearby, plus on large endangered bird species. In remote areas with good wind strength averages, and assuming the EROEI has been honestly evaluated, it's a good thing. But governments and corporations are rarely wise enough to know when to say no. Short term financial profit to a few, is no guarantee of long term energy profit viability or social acceptability.

Also, though no one says it, the moment a wind farm pisses off some nearby resident enough to start taking pot shots with a high powered rifle (or applying an oxy-cutter to the tower base, or just cutting the grid connection cables for that matter) all estimates of economic viability go down the drain. Are the generators, gear boxes, pitch motors and inverters bullet proof? Did the profit feasibility study include the cost of 24/7 guarding? I doubt it.
And I question the sanity of planners who didn't take such things into consideration when siting wind farms.

Ocean wind farms make me laugh. In a salt spray environment, the lifetime of these complex electrical machines is what? I bet it won't be near as long as the investment plan claimed. For a really good laugh, search for diagrams of the cable lays among groups of ocean anchored wind turbines. Ho ho ho ho...
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Offline Zero999

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #82 on: January 06, 2015, 10:39:46 am »
Ocean wind farms make me laugh. In a salt spray environment, the lifetime of these complex electrical machines is what? I bet it won't be near as long as the investment plan claimed. For a really good laugh, search for diagrams of the cable lays among groups of ocean anchored wind turbines. Ho ho ho ho...
If oil rigs and other large structures can be built off shore and last a reasonable length of time, then I don't see why the same can't be true for wind turbine. With proper design and maintenance, there's no reason why a wind turbine shouldn't last as long as any other off shore structure.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #83 on: January 06, 2015, 10:48:41 am »
Ocean wind farms make me laugh. In a salt spray environment, the lifetime of these complex electrical machines is what? I bet it won't be near as long as the investment plan claimed. For a really good laugh, search for diagrams of the cable lays among groups of ocean anchored wind turbines. Ho ho ho ho...
If oil rigs and other large structures can be built off shore and last a reasonable length of time, then I don't see why the same can't be true for wind turbine. With proper design and maintenance, there's no reason why a wind turbine shouldn't last as long as any other off shore structure.
Have you seen the levels of corrosion large structures at sea have to tolerate? You've probably seen a few ships close up, and how corroded they get. I wonder if the wind turbines for installation at sea are the same as the ones they sell for land use? From my experience adapting other things for maritime use, I imagine a lot of additional cost goes into making wind turbines salt tolerant.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #84 on: January 06, 2015, 07:28:48 pm »
Easy to make steelwork that will do a century in the sea ( they had to demolish a submarine barrier here a few years ago, and had to blast it with explosives to get chunks off. They found the reinforcing was not steel bar, which was in short supply, but was made from reclaimed rail instead. Pretty good for something built in weeks during a war) but it tends to get big and expensive fast. As well consider the best places for wind tend to be the places furtherest from comfortable living ( Chicago excluded, along with PE and The Mother City) places, for the simple reasons of building in wind. Long power lines, that have to be rated for the peak nameplate capacity, but which spend most of the time running at 10% or less, is a pretty poor cost/benefit.
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #85 on: January 06, 2015, 11:04:28 pm »
Funny thing is a lot of people are against turbines for reasons such as these failures or the "eye sore".

They suddenly forget about all the oil spills and other issues brought on by fossil fuels.
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #86 on: January 06, 2015, 11:08:43 pm »
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They suddenly forget about all the oil spills

You probably don't get oil spills near your house every day. You do live near those eye sores every day.

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Offline electrophiliate

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #87 on: January 07, 2015, 02:22:35 am »
Obviously any comparison of subsidies for and impact of fossil fuels versus renewable energy must take into account the net energy produced and the materials which went into the technology, but it starts getting more complicated when considering the wider economic, environmental and human costs of using those technologies. The estimation of the current and future costs of climate change are variable and somewhat arbitrary. The annual estimates are in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives, millions of years of life lived with disability, etc. I imagine that precise figures are debatable and people are going to argue over what proportion of these costs are directly due to the impact of human activities on climate change.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 02:27:17 am by electrophiliate »
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Offline zapta

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #88 on: January 07, 2015, 03:52:29 am »
The annual estimates are in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives, millions of years of life lived with disability, etc. I imagine that precise figures are debatable and people are going to argue over what proportion of these costs are directly due to the impact of human activities on climate change.


You must be kidding, we live longer than ever in human history and it's all driven by energy from fossil fuel.

Enough with the ungrateful whining.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #89 on: January 07, 2015, 04:05:43 am »
I am a big fan of getting off oil, but I think proponents of wind power are not seeing a potentially big problem.

Wind power is the act of extracting power from the wind. What does that do to the wind? It slows it down. Do this on a small scale and there are probably no major side effects. Do this on a large scale and maybe we start changing weather patterns. This is not a "green" solution. Rather this is another experiment that us arrogant humans are running on the world again.

Solar power is also an experiment on local climates. Just like big cities that change their local climate by changing the heat distribution between day and night, so goes solar energy.

Nuclear power? Well thorium is probably our best short term bet. It is much cleaner and inherently safer than uranium breeders. The big joke on most people now is believing that electric cars are some magic to save the planet. Until we get off fossil fuel generation of electricity, where that is used, electric cars are worse  than fossil fuel cars, much worse.
 

Offline electrophiliate

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #90 on: January 07, 2015, 04:53:38 am »
You must be kidding, we live longer than ever in human history and it's all driven by energy from fossil fuel.

Enough with the ungrateful whining.

I merely (generally) mentioned the costs of climate change estimated by the UN, WHO, and other organizations.

I never gave any opinion on how much of those costs are directly attributable to energy from fossil fuels or how they compared with the benefits.
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Offline coppice

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #91 on: January 07, 2015, 05:03:42 am »
I am a big fan of getting off oil, but I think proponents of wind power are not seeing a potentially big problem.

Wind power is the act of extracting power from the wind. What does that do to the wind? It slows it down. Do this on a small scale and there are probably no major side effects. Do this on a large scale and maybe we start changing weather patterns. This is not a "green" solution. Rather this is another experiment that us arrogant humans are running on the world again.
The amount of energy we would need to extract from the environment to run our entire civilisation is a very small part of the total, so any large scale effects of our actions are unlikely. For example, if we could just pull 0.1% of the energy out of the Atlantic gulf stream, that is all the energy that humanity currently uses. Allow for the entire world's population coming up to western standards of living and we wouldn't need more than about 0.5% of the gulf stream. The gulf stream may be one of nature's more spectacular energy flows, giving London an OK climate (yes, it is OK. Stop whining about it :-) ) at a latitude where polar bears live in Canada, but its a small part of the total available environmental energy.

Solar power is also an experiment on local climates. Just like big cities that change their local climate by changing the heat distribution between day and night, so goes solar energy.
Current cities are the experiment. Locally generated solar power actually takes us back to something closer to natural conditions. If you turn 19% of the energy falling on your roof into the electricity which runs your home, and then ends up as heat, your home would be energy neutral. Currently most electricity is produced hundreds of km away and just dissipated in the city.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #92 on: January 07, 2015, 05:15:47 am »
Might, probably, the kinds of  words I am referring to. 0.5% of the energy available is if we are 100% efficient. Maybe we need to extract more like 2%? Who said that trees don't slow the winds? I am pretty sure though that trees don't grow in the ocean.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #93 on: January 07, 2015, 05:38:26 am »
Might, probably, the kinds of  words I am referring to. 0.5% of the energy available is if we are 100% efficient. Maybe we need to extract more like 2%? Who said that trees don't slow the winds? I am pretty sure though that trees don't grow in the ocean.
When the Romans ruled Britain, they described it as an oak forest. Now British people buy oak furniture made of American oak. If wind turbines slow the wind, they actually help to restore the natural order of things.
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #94 on: January 07, 2015, 06:19:46 am »
That '15 years to return the energy used in manufacture' came from somewhere else, and I can't remember where.

Someone's arse I presume.
Sigh. Why so hostile? If you actually googled you'd find that this is an issue with wide differences of opinion, and has been for a long time.
Apparently the low end accepted energy payback time for modern panels is much better than the 15 years I recalled, so I learn something. For eg http://www.clca.columbia.edu/236_PE_Magazine_Fthenakis_2_10_12.pdf
But it's *still* something people disagree about. Might have something to do with people's reasons for promoting (or not) solar, since it's easy to make choices in what you count among lifecycle energy inputs.




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Consider that nuclear plants are made of silicon, glass, aluminium, silicone rubber and various other materials besides. All have high energy costs of manufacture. That statement by itself is meaningless.
a. Nuclear plants are rather higher power output than solar panels.
b. Despite that, the lifecycle EROEI profitability of nuclear plants is still considered by many to be marginal or actually negative. It's NOT meaningless to remind that any source of energy can involve high energy production costs.
In this case I said it because most people don't even try to consider what it took to make a solar panel. Hey, they're just a big flat thing, weigh little, make electricity, must be a solution to all our energy problems, right?

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As for vast solar arrays in deserts - ha ha. The secret word is 'sandstorm'.  Also 'shifting dunes' for the booby prize.

They seem to do okay in the US. As for Africa and other more hostile places, I think you will find that not quite the entire continent is ravaged by sand storms and shifting dunes. I think there are even people living there.

"Solar arrays IN DESERTS" comment made because of articles talking about putting vast solar arrays IN DESERTS. Specifically ones in which there are no people. If you apparently have never seen such articles, and are reading comprehension challenged, it's not my problem.
In general I'm sending up people who don't consider the environment in which they are proposing vast infrastructure projects. Wind blown dust dramatically cuts electrical output. Who's going to wipe down thousands of panels? And that's before the panels start getting sandblasted.
But it doesn't have to be desert. I've seen some amusing pics of a big solar panel farm (in Germany I think) where no one bothered to trim the tall plants that grew up between the rows. Heavily shading the panels.
See pic below of another example - in the Newington park in Sydney.

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Also, though no one says it, the moment a wind farm pisses off some nearby resident enough to start taking pot shots with a high powered rifle (or applying an oxy-cutter to the tower base, or just cutting the grid connection cables for that matter) all estimates of economic viability go down the drain. Are the generators, gear boxes, pitch motors and inverters bullet proof? Did the profit feasibility study include the cost of 24/7 guarding? I doubt it.

I... That's just do dumb, you should go and try it and see how it works out for you. If you aren't killed by the structure falling on you or electrocuted or otherwise maimed the CCTV footage of you doing it should be quite interesting. Yeah - they have CCTV on those things.
Ha ha.. you and the other guy having conniptions at the mere suggestion. And yet earlier in this thread and the original article, multiple people were talking about how having to put up with light strobing from turbine blades would cause them to 'lose it'. And they're right, it would be completely unacceptable. If you think 100% of people having that forced on them are going to say "Yup. It's unacceptable. I'll just sit here and keep saying that till the problem goes away" then you are a very naive person.

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And I question the sanity of planners who didn't take such things into consideration when siting wind farms.

Guns are not widely available in the UK, so maybe they did...

Ha ha ha! Oh wait, you're serious! Let me laugh more. HA HA HA HA!

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Ocean wind farms make me laugh. In a salt spray environment, the lifetime of these complex electrical machines is what? I bet it won't be near as long as the investment plan claimed.

True, things like oil rigs, piers, under-sea cable repeaters and the like rarely last more than a few months in that environment. I'm sure the marine engineers who design those things are all idiots and know far less than you do about it.
I've seen what happens to electronics in salt spray environments. I've seen corroded ships being repaired (I was helping with the repairs.) I've seen the insides of very large wind turbines (about 1MW each, in a factory in Sth China). They used heat exchanger cooling, with only the radiator exposed to direct exterior airflow. But that added a lot of complexity, and I'd be surprised if smaller systems do that too.
Maybe ocean wind turbines are hermetically airtight, but I bet they are not.

Also, when you degenerate to strawman arguments like "rarely last more than a few months" you're just making yourself look ridiculous. What did I say? I said "I bet it won't be near as long as the investment plan claimed."
So we'll see who's right, in about a decade or less. If the MTBF and/or working lifespan or uptime are significantly less than expected, that can kill the economics for large investments like that.

Btw, talking about wind turbines failing, it occurs to me if a turbine is acting up during even moderate wind, let alone a raging storm, NO ONE is going to climb up inside the tower and try doing maintenance. So they are kind of all or nothing failure modes.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 06:23:09 am by TerraHertz »
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Offline coppice

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #95 on: January 07, 2015, 06:30:52 am »
Btw, talking about wind turbines failing, it occurs to me if a turbine is acting up during even moderate wind, let alone a raging storm, NO ONE is going to climb up inside the tower and try doing maintenance. So they are kind of all or nothing failure modes.
That's what I was thinking while looking at the videos of major failures. There seems to be no provision for emergency action if something goes wrong. People would have to be crazy to go anywhere near those turbines which are out of control. It looks like all they can do is wait it out, until either there is a very calm day or the thing rips itself apart.
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #96 on: January 07, 2015, 07:13:44 am »
I think they're normally suppose to shut themselves down in those situations, but clearly that one failed to do that. :P  Those are probably a couple million dollars a pop too.
 

Offline oliver602

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #97 on: January 07, 2015, 08:18:10 am »
One in the first post was reported to be £500,000
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Wind turbine destruction
« Reply #98 on: January 07, 2015, 11:41:39 am »
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I merely (generally) mentioned the costs of climate change estimated by the UN, WHO, and other organizations.

You can probably quote equally flamboyant statements from those right-wing nuts type organizations that refute those UN/WHO statements on equally sound ground, :).

The point is unless we take a critical eye to all of those statements and see through the fog of war there, quoting them adds no value in a discussion.
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